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SCTP Handshake Vs TCP Handshake

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Traditional TCP uses a three-way handshake, whereas SCTP uses a four-way handshake. A signed state cookie is involved in the SCTP four-way handshake, which helps to protect from denial of service attacks.

SCTP Vs TCP Handshake

A denial of service attack is where resources are tied up on the server side so that it is impossible to respond to legitimate connections. The attacker issues vast amounts of SYN requests (a message requesting set-up of a connection) to the server and when it receives the SYN, ACK (see diagram) it simply discards it, not bothering to respond with an ACK. This causes the server to retain the partial state that was allocated after the SYN request, and if carried out repetitively will lead to a denial of service.

SCTP protects against denial of service attacks with the use of a cookie. The cookie is bundled with the INIT-ACK from the server to the client. The server does not record the association or keep a transmission control block (TCB), rather it derives the TCB from the cookie, which is sent back from the client inside the COOKIE-ECHO. Since it has no knowledge of the association till the client responds with a COOKIE-ECHO, it becomes resilient to denial of service attacks.

user data can be bundled in the last two SCTP packets so four user messages exchange for the Connection is not an overhead.

posted Feb 26, 2014 by Salil Agrawal

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SCTP was primarily developed for the signalling over IP networks i.e. SIGTRAN. But these days many more applications are finding SCTP suitable as a transport layer as compare to TCP. In this article I am trying to compare the SCTP with TCP.

1) TCP supports single stream of data delivery where as SCTP supports multi-streams of data delivery. Because of single stream behavior TCP has head of the line blocking issue i.e. a packet has to wait for the delivery of previous packet even though it is not the related packet. But in SCTP they can follow different stream and avoid the head of the line blocking.

2) SCTP supports MultiHoming which means single SCTP endpoint to have multiple IP addresses. The main reason for this is to maintain the availability of the endpoint via several redundant routing paths and application is available even though one path is failed.

3) Traditional TCP uses a three-way handshake, whereas SCTP uses a four-way handshake. A signed state cookie is involved in the SCTP four-way handshake, which helps to protect from denial of service attacks. Or in short we can say SCTP is more secure.

4) SCTP packets are called chunks and allows chunk bundling and segmentation whereas TCP is stream and does not preserve the message boundary.

5) SCTP is more flexible as compare to TCP is allows multi streaming or single streaming, ordered or unordered delivery, bundling or non bundling.

6) In the similar environment SCTP provides the better performance as compare to TCP.

7) SCTP is defined in RFC4960 where as TCP in RFC 793

8) Having so many advantage TCP is more widely used and more wrapper or plugins are available for the TCP.

SCTP Header

SCTP Header

TCP Header

TCP Header

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